On all the cooking shows I watch, it seems like every chef stresses the need for Italian food, especially the sauces, to simmer for hours and hours to increase the flavor. I’m sure it is necessary for some recipes, but thankfully this is not one of them. Ina Garten hosts my favorite show, Barefoot Contessa, and she recently showed me and any other fan the ease of making a pasta Bolognese dish in under an hour. Knowing that Italian is the favorite of one roommate and a new friend visiting from Florida can eat tomatoes and mozzarella all day, it was easy to form a 3 course meal that can be done in a very reasonable amount of time. I’ll post the appetizer and dessert tomorrow.
The result: 6-8 servings shell pasta Bolognese
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground sirloin
- ¼-1/2 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 tbsp oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 ¼ cup dry red wine that you would actually drink, the flavor matters
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 pound dried pasta shells
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup cream
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add ground sirloin, crumble the meat and cook for 5-7 minutes, until begins to brown. Add onion, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and cook for 1-2 minutes. Pour 1 cup wine and stir up any bits stuck to pan. Add tomatoes, paste, salt, about 1 tbsp, and pepper, ½ tbsp, to taste. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. While preparing the above, get a pot a water boiling with olive oil and salt for taste, add pasta, cook as directions say. Shell pasta really helps get the flavor when you bite in and it has sauce on the inside.
Finish the sauce by adding cinnamon, basil, cream, and ¼ cup more wine and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes. Serve by forming a circle of pasta and pour the sauce on top, then top with fresh parmesan.